BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead | BrewDog

BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - SmokeheadBrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead
261 Ratings
BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - SmokeheadBrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead

Brewed by:
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Identical to Batch 010 as the casks were re-used.

Added by Onslow on 01-12-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 261 |  Reviews: 163
Photo of erosier
4.34/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours a deep brown/black color with almost no head, just a slight tan colored ring around the head. I guess a little head would have been nice (though isn't that always the case?)
S: Smells of sweet roasted malt, chocolate, caramel, coffee, and a huge smokey whiskey aroma to it at the end that eventually takes over the nose.
T: Tastes of big smokey malts with hints of a good whiskey, nice caramel and chocolate malts finishing with more smoke and whiskey.
M: Very smooth, warming, lighter bodied than I would have expected, needed some carbonation as this one had none.
D: Very drinkable surprisingly for the amount of alcohol and the amount of smoke and whiskey flavors in it.

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Photo of champ103
2.34/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Pours nearly opaque black. On a vigorous poor, a two finger tan head forms, and gently recedes to a ring. Some lace is left behind.
S: Smoke, tobacco, ash, rubber, sweet malt. Chocolate and coffee linger. Dry wood.
T: An overdone tobacco and rubber taste. Plenty of smoke, and dry moldy wood.
M/D: A medium body that is low on the carbonation. Just a little on the thin side for an Imperial Stout. Tons of alcohol, and the tobacco flavor makes this really hard to drink. I am struggling after a few sips.

Another high priced let down from BrewDog. I really wanted to like this, but I just can't get past the tobacco, ash and rubber flavor that I get in a lot of their beers. I would not recommend this.

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Photo of femALEist
3.02/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This poured black with a tint of red. This smelled like TONS of tobacco, tons of smoke, scotch and a lot of alcohol. It tasted like malt but with a good balance of smoked tobacco. It tasted like I was drinking tobacco mixed with scotch. Like a glass full of scotch leftover from a party that someone ashed their cigarettes in. That may be your thing, don't get me wrong. I am not saying this is a bad beer; however, scotch isn't my thing, so it's just not for me. BUT if you do like scotch, this one may be interesting for you to try.

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.12/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice barrel aged stout with an assertive whisky driven smoky and peaty profile.

Presentation: 12 oz brown bottle. Black and gold label design with standard Brew Dog design. One liner describes the main characteristics of the style. Tags cloud style section on the side offer a rambling description, followed by a small paragraph noting intent, and serving suggestion. Notes batch number (015) and best before date (13/05/11). Shows Alc. by Vol. (10%) Served in a snifter.

A - Black pour with a short head, minimañ retention and lacing with some surface memory.

S - Tremendous smoky range, whisky, peat, and a malty sense.

T - Malty stout range with nice whisky notes, with a nice floating sense of Islay smoked work.

M - Medium to full body with an adequate and minimally tingling carbonation. Smooth finish.

D - Nice sipper, one needs to be attracted by the heavy Islay smoked profile to really enjoy this one though.

Notes: It´s a nice brew and with offerings like this I begin to understand, or even justify some of the hype. The smell is rather spectacular, the flavor initially feels a bit shit and the body a bit thin for this brew, but actually with the smoked predominance both seem to be about right to hold the brew attractively until the end... A rather nicely crafted long range.

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Photo of Dentist666
4.68/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours opaque, almost black beer without head, only some bubbles on the surface. Outstanding aroma of peat whisky, coffee, smoke and drugstore's phenol. Taste is peaty, chocolate, slightly bitter, dry, alcohol well hidden. Owing to cask-maturing, wood is easy distinguished in taste. More than moderate carbonation. Very drinkable beer, lukewarm liquid with hot embrace. Unique kind of beer from recent weird brewery.

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Photo of Lupin
4.17/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served at probably 60F.

Hmm.. This one really reeks like a bottle of port ellen or something. That Islay fervor is dominant. No head, a tiny little bit of lacing. Opaque, damn near black!

First impressions thankfully do not call to mind a rauchbier.. It's more of a matchstick flavor. Sweet mouthfeel is good, taste is somewhat smoky but the scent dominates, perhaps too much when sipped in small quanitities(lingering on and after the exhale). Definitely a unique pour, very similar to the ola dubh's on the surface, but a lot peatier--but only in the nose. An interesting diversion, might work with a cigar, but I doubt it.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.32/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Pours a nigh-obsidian with no true head to speak of. The nose kicks off with a healthy dose of smoke, with all else in the background, submissive: toasted malts, toffee, vanilla, and a hint of booze. The taste begins with the usual imperial stout flavors, like coffee, vanilla, and dark malts, but then the smoke kicks in, bringing an extra level of complexity to the proceedings. The smoke goes from BBQ grill to roasted bratwurst to a lighter caramel flavor. Though the body is sonewhat heavy, it is incredibly smooth. This helps keep the drinkability fairly high, despite the best efforts from the ABV and the smoke, which tries its best, in vain, to dominate the stage. Instead, a delightful complexity exists.

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Photo of winegourmet76
3.2/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Thanks to Chris Campagna for bringing this one for us to taste at the BA La Muerta bottle release day.
This bottle had been open for up to twelve hrs, so a scant bit of carbonation remained.

The color was a deep, rich brown.

On the nose, smoke and petrol, not much else.
The taste was all smoke, like liquid smoke in a bottle with a touch of heat from the alcohol.

To me, the mouthfeel was the best part. It was rich but not too heavy. I had been dissapointed with Dogma's mouthfeel, so was pleasantly surprised with this one.

I am not sure that I would buy this on my own, unless I was planning on mixing it with another brew. The smoke is so pronounced that it would add a nice layer of smoke to any IPA or perhaps an RIS.

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Photo of caddyshack199
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Brew Dog Paradox Smokehead

A- dark pour with a dark brown head.
H- poured vigorously into a duvel bell glass resulting in a short
lived dark brown head.
N-smells like a peaty scotch. Not much else.
T-reminds me of the Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier but instead of a
campfire it's a peat bomb. Also much darker.
I- another wierd beer from the beer guys at brew dog.
$12.99 bottle at staples corner liquors, Crofton Md

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Photo of stcules
3.97/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Almost black in color, with an evanescent foam.
Smell: well, delicate is not the right word here. Strong, intense, a kick in the face of peat, whisky, with a background of dark malts, and a light roasted, and some saltish note.
Good taste. Peated, saltish, a lot, with vanilla notes, roasted. Full and intense, without compromises. Then hazelnut, dry fruit.
Vigorous aftertaste, again saltish and peat overall.
Structured body, alchol well hidden.
A perfect pairing with dark chocolate.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
4.44/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best before 03/08/10. Huh? for a RIS?

A: bottle opened with a slight CO2 release - almost a still beer with just a whisper of carbonation - opaque
S: probably one of the more unusual noses with a dominating Islay Lagavulin-type, peaty backbone
T: to a lover of Islays (Lagavulin, Ardbeg, Uigeadail, etc.) this is a phenomenal beer, a marriage between two of my great loves (big ballsy beers and Islays), peaty, smokey, but with a subdued alcohol bite and well-balanced malt backbone, well-done
M/D: very good, highly drinkable for alcohol content, almost like a single malt with tons of malt and a lot less alcohol!

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Photo of KTCamm
3.56/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours jet black, no foam. Like a syrup - not that it is thick, but completely devoid of any carbonating bubbles. Thick.

Heavy duty whiskey smell, not lending a hand to the beer, completely overtaking it. Peat moss mixed in there, and quite smoky. Musty/earthy.

Stout like taste that blends nicely with the whisky flavor - at first. Heavy alcohol finish. Over time grows to be more of a whiskey aged in beer barrel.

Virtually no carbonation in the mouth.

Interesting concept and a fun new thing to sip on, but can't imagine having more than one.

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Photo of jonnyprime
2.35/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: poured into a sniffer. Very dark and opaque with little to no head. No lacing at all.
S: strong almost overwhelming smoke and peat. Had a hard time even getting my nose close to the glass.
T: same as the smell. I'm usually a fan of smoked beers and I do love my scotches and whiskeys but this was too much. No imperial stout qualities what so ever. If I wanted to drink a big snifter of scotch, Id pour a snifter of scotch.
M: thin and watery. Not what you'd expect from the style.
D: I'm glad I tried it but one of very few I couldn't finish. Woke up this morning with half the glass still sitting on the coffee table.

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Photo of Hautacam
1.94/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Practically no head on this blackish brew.
The smell is very, very smokey and loaded with phenol. The smell of scotch, especially the alcohol, comes through.
Taste ? A complete mess. Way too much smoke, way too much phenol, way too much whiskey.
It tastes like an over smoked ( campfire, a previous reviewer remarked) thin bodied porter, that has a shot of an Islay Scotch in it....and a few drops of liquid smoke....did I mention the smoke ? Nothing connects; it's all just In your Face harsh....each separate flavor is overdone.
I really like smoked beers and I really like single malts, so I thought I would like this a lot...and it was a gift.
A drainpour...really, I know this is not cheap, but I found it undrinkable.
I like what Brewdog is doing, so I will keep trying their beers, but this one sucked.

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Photo of jampics2
4.07/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On cask at the Beer Engine's Wood Aged Beer Festival.

Pours a dark black, no head at all.

Smells like a campfire. Not typical rauch smell, this is burnt but works somehow.

Tastes like smoke from a campfire. Crazy beer, waay intense. Can see how someone wouldn't like this, but it's well done just not a taste I'm sure was worth persuing. Perhaps a cigar would help.

Mouthfeel was good for a cask beer. Nice gravity.

Drinkability was good but def. a 1 and done.

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Photo of Dodo2step
3.61/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

P- Barley's and Hops in Pittsburgh

A- Motor oil black with minimal head. no lacing and opaque.

S- pungent whiskey smell with a charred ending.

T- strong whiskey flavor with a smokey and charred tang as well.

M-Whiskey permeates the mouth. If i blew on a match i could shoot flames.

D-a sipper and not something to chug. Powerful on the whiskey. Not for me but good otherwise as for the style.

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Photo of wd40
2.23/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Appearance consisted of a pitch black color with no head. Were there some foam or lace left on the glass I would have rated the beer higher. The smell had a distinct chemical/medicinal quality to it. A friend of mine smelled it and said it reminded him of turpentine! His wife said it smelled of nail polish. I smelled smoke with a generic chemical quality. The taste had a hint of underlying maltiness but was totally overpowered by what I imagine the ashes of a bonfire taste like. I understand the concept of incorporating smokiness into the beer, but it totally overpowered the taste. There was no subtle interplay between imperial stout and smoke, there was just smoke with a hint of some generic dark beer underneath. The mouthfeel was thin and watery, not thick and creamy like I would expect from an imperial stout. This is one of the very few beers I could not finish. I understand that it is a special beer, and I respect the concept of combining whiskey barrels with beer and imparting some of the flavor into the beer, but there should be some underlying imperial stout foundation in the taste and there's not. Maybe I got the bottom of the keg or something, but I can't recommend this beer.

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Photo of elniko
4.12/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Batch #15, poured from bottle into goblet glass.

A: Dark opaque black with thin tan head. Nice lacing apparent, good looking brew.

S: Wowzers, what a nose. Ridiculously peaty and mossy, unbelievable. Almost a little on the chemical side but still quite interesting.

T & M: Malt dominate with the smoky, peaty qualities coming through. A little licorice apparent as well. Strong, full bodied. Just ridiculous.

D: No way I could drink more than one bottle, glad I split the bottle that I had. So happy that I lucked into this bottle.

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Photo of Kaiser81
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had on cask @ O'Brien's on 1/8/10. 10 oz pour.

A - Pitch black with a half a finger head. No lacing of note left on my glass

S - Holy booze batman! Strong scotch and smokey smell. There are heavy oak notes present too.

T - SCOTCH!!!, then lots of vanilla, and oak notes. There is bittersweet chocolate notes that come out as the taste lingers on your tongue. however, the vanilla comes back and finishes the lingering effect.
My friend commented that "This is a mixed drink!"

M - heavy and chewy with low carbonation

D - This is definitely a sipper, and the alcohol will knock you on your butt

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
3.99/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

part 4 in a series.

i do appreciate the consistency in the pour. a black with ruby lights and a minimalistic head. a very rare steak on the plate. a challenge at the ready. very peaty with strong vanilla and roasty aromas and flavors. alcohol actually a little more forward by way of the peatiness, making this a bit spicier in that regard. not extremely thick, but i feel with the smokiness, makes this beer more easily quaffable. again, very nice.
please serve with very rare steak, root roast, and kale/mushroom sautee.

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Photo of beavers
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A huge thanks to Crittervision for this (one of the many great beers he packaged up as a wedding gift).

a: Pours a ruby dark brown out of the botlle and turns to a richer opaque brown nearing black as it collects into a Duvel Tulip. Produced is a creamy tan head that has dark brown rings around the edges with each swirl.

s: Potent charred wood, liquid smoke, peaty earth, burnt sugar cane. Faint cola, bitter chocolate and rum cherries that are absolutely swallowed by the thick char aroma.

t: Smoky peaty earth brings an initial tang followed by a strong roasty charcoal bitterness and a bit of a metallic finish. Slight burnt sugar sweetness and a touch of alcohol.

m: Rather thin for a 10% RIS...especially one with such rich flavor. Low carbonation.

d: Smoky charred flavor dominates this beer to the point where it overwhelms some potential subtle flavors. Therefore this is a somewhat one-dimensional beer that gets tough to finish when your drinking smoke (even though the alcohol is well hidden).

A very fun beer to drink, full of rich ass flavor.

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.39/5  rDev +19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- Gave this a hard pour and it didn't really produce more than a thin film that disappeared. It is tar black in color....not a chance of seeing through this one. The carbonation appears to be fine and the body appears to be viscous. There isn't really any lacing.

S- The aroma of this one is dominated by a smoky, peat filled whisky. There is also undertones of unsweetened chocolate (chocolate malts), burnt wood and alcohol.

T- Very peaty, smoky, but with a somewhat sweet malt flavor lying underneath, that resembles blackstrap molasses. It is very rich, with the notes of bourbon and peated Scotch coming through. The finish is of char and decent hop bitterness.

M- This is one smooth brew! The carbonation is very muted and what bubbles there are, are very fine and don't sting the palate. The alcohol is very well hidden I find and the body is full, leaving the full effect of the peated whisky character. I tried a taste of this like I do Tequila, and the smokiness really comes out once you breathe out of your mouth.

D- Great beer, but one is enough for me. The rich flavor and dryness of this really is a pleasure to drink. This is most definitely a sipping beer and I highly recommend this with an aged cheddar, as I enjoyed this with a 6yr old white and they go magnificently together.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.7/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown-black with a small beige head.

Very smokey aroma with some oak, but mainly just smoke. Much smokier than the Isle of Arran and Springbank that we tried during the same tasting. The flavor is lots of peat smoke. Very intense, almost charcoal like flavor which hides any more subtle flavors that may or may not there. Medium-thick mouthfeel and light-medium carbonation. Overall I didn't care for the level of smokiness in this beer, but I am still glad I tried it.

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at the Rookwood Pub in Cincinnati. Not positive it was batch 15 but I'm about 95% that it is...

Appearance- Very dark with a thick brownish head that sticks with it for quite a while. Can barely even look at it without the smokiness already hitting me so..

Aroma- Campfire... earthy undertones with a hint of what I can only describe as motor oil... but not in a bad sense. Just potent and almost a bit overpowering

Taste- Deep dark roasted malt flavour with a surprisingly smooth smokiness considering the aroma. Can definitely taste the earthy/peat coming through and a hint of some hops are barely detectable. The alcohol is also quite apparent on this one which at 10% is no surprise.

Mouthfeel- A bit oily and thick for my taste. The slickness of it combined with the smell conjure up images of a car leaking thick black oil which is not the most appealing image.

Drinkability- One sip at a time... the beer mellows a bit after the first few drinks but the smokiness starts to stand out a bit too much. The perfect balance of flavours occurred about 5-10 sips in and by the time I could see the bottom of the snifter I was glad this was only a 10 oz pour.

Overall, very tasty but not quite the balance I would like to see... The complexity was surprising given how overpowering the smokiness is initially but in the end the smoke wins out and overpowers the other flavours leaving the beer lacking at the end...

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Photo of zoso493
4.05/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had this one sitting in the "cellar" for awhile now and haven't gotten around to drinking it until today, my last day in Europe for awhile. Hope this is a good one. Poured from a 330 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: When you open the bottle, you hardly get a hiss from the carbonation, which in this beer I'm assuming is purposeful. Even the most vigorous of pours can only produce a minuscule head that is all bubbles and last for maybe 10 seconds. Other than that, the color is a deep coffee color that lets absolutely no light through.

Smell: I actually blurted out, "holy shit" when I first stuck my nose in this one. Unlike any beer I've ever smelled, and that includes other beers in the Paradox line. Smells like the smokiest single malt. Also smells just like a nice Romeo y Julieta cigar. Unfortunately, it also has a bit of a scent of old shoes in there somewhere.

Taste: The taste is not as overpowering as perhaps the scent is. It does mirror the smell pretty closely, however. Tastes just like an old, smoky, peaty Scotch whiskey mixed with a Cuban cigar, which anyone who has had either of those vices will tell you is a good thing. I've had a lot of barrel-aged beers but not one that was aged in a barrel of something so smoky, and this retains the flavor beautifully. Very unique beer.

Mouthfeel: This is a little bit thinner than I'd like in a beer of this variety. The thinness is also surprising given the total lack of carbonation.

Drinkability: This is a sipper for sure. Not a really high beer in terms of ABV at 10%, but the taste necessitates that you give this one its due time in finishing.

Overall, this is a really nice beer that probably got a lower score than it deserved from me because of the mouthfeel and drinkability. I've never had a beer quite like it and would definitely recommend it to anyone because of its uniqueness. If you like cigars and whiskey, it is imperative that you try this beer.

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BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead from BrewDog
Beer rating: 3.69 out of 5 with 261 ratings
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